Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) is widely acclaimed as one of the most important postwar American artists. In 1947 while in the U.S. Marines he discovered an interest in drawing and later pursued arts education in Paris with the aid of the G.I. Bill. His work anticipated Pop art through his incorporation of imagery from everyday life and found objects. A truly interdisciplinary artist, Rauschenberg worked in painting, sculpture, collage, printmaking, photography, paper making, performance, and collaborative projects.
The artist had his first solo exhibition in 1951. In 1964, Rauschenberg was the first American artist to win the Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale. A mid-career retrospective organized by the National Collection of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) traveled throughout the U.S. in 1976–1978 and a retrospective in 1997 organized by the Guggenheim Museum traveled to Houston, Cologne, and Bilbao. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1993. In the past ten years, exhibitions have been organized at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, LACMA, Centre Pompidou, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum New York, along with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. While furthering the artistic legacy of the artist, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation continues to sustain his philanthropic, civic, and educational initiatives and awards grants to contemporary artists and organizations.